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Reflections on What Makes a Good Trainer of Horses
  by Robert N. Oglesby DVM

Introduction

Introduction » Two Corollaries » Horses Think Before They Act...Mostly » Summary » More Info 

Before beginning to train a horse it may help to reflect on what differentiates the real trainer and hack. Of course an experienced trainer will have more techniques to draw upon but I do not think this is the real difference.

I think we all can agree on these statements and make them axioms (self evident truths):

  1. Horses will attempt actions that bring about positive events and avoid actions that bring about negative events.
  2. Every learning experience is a mixture of positive and negative events.
  3. Every horse is different in his sensitivity to these two forces.
Certainly the primary reason horses resist training is they do not know what is being asked of them. To make matters worse many requirements of a well trained horse means they must unlearn natural reflexive behavior. I think some folks may argue that horses sometimes display willful disobedience. I do not know how to prove or disprove this supposition but fortunately we do not have to agree on this: the best training techniques throw out punishment as a training tool, which suggests to me willful disobedience may not be in a horses emotional repertoire. Note well that punishment is vastly different than negative reinforcement. Using these two axioms and some common observations about horses, we can distill out the traits that are needed to become a sucessful trainer and something about sucessful training techniques.

      ~Word Count: 922 words (The average magazine page contains about 600 words);
      ~Last Updated: April 17, 2011;

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Discussions on What Makes for a Good Trainer
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iconResearch Summay: Rein tension and training acceptanceMay 24, 11
iconResearch Study: Comparing Training TechniquesJul 25, 09
iconHelp Trainers I need input on my green horseMay 14, 08
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iconResearch Summary: The Saga of King, Queeny, and Jacky17 Apr 28, 09
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iconFeedback on Parelli15 Feb 4, 06
iconNew to Natural Horsemanship: Where to Start??11 Apr 30, 07
iconMonty roberts24 Sep 24, 01
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iconArchived DiscussionsClick link to access data.
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iconSending Levi off for TrainingAug 6, 04
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